United States President Donald Trump announced on Thursday that he was scrapping next month's Republican Party nominating convention in Jacksonville, Florida, because of the COVID-19 outbreak.
Trump, speaking at a White House press conference, said it was not the right time to do a big, crowded convention.
The timing for this event is not right, it's just not right with what's happened recently, he said. Trump said convention events would be held online in some form.
He said Republican delegates who will nominate him as the party's candidate in November's election against Democrat Joe Biden will gather in North Carolina for a reasonably quick meeting.
The main reason for cancelling the Jacksonville event was safety, he said. I could see the media saying 'Oh, this is very unsafe,' Trump added.
It's hard for us to say we should have a lot of people packed into a room and then other people shouldn't do it, he said. There's nothing more crowded than a convention, I think we're setting an example by doing it.
Trump's voter support is plunging over his response to the pandemic. A Quinnipiac poll of Florida showed him running 13 points behind Joe Biden.
The Republican convention had been scheduled to be held in Jacksonville from Aug 24 to Aug 27. Florida has recently experienced a surge in COVID-19 cases, which topped four million in the United States on Thursday.